Group calls on parties to deliver on strategy


OLDER AND BOLDER:THE “LONG overdue” national positive ageing strategy must be delivered by the next government, an alliance of older people’s organisations said yesterday.

The Older and Bolder group said older people should confront election candidates on the ageing strategy.

The organisation, formed six years ago and made up of eight older people’s non-governmental organisations, has called on all political parties to support its “High Five” priorities.

As well as the ageing strategy, the priorities include a fairer healthcare system and secure pensions, as well as the protection of local transport and a greater involvement for older citizens in all aspects of Irish life.

The strategy was promised by all political parties in advance of the 2007 election, but though there was a consultation process last year, no strategy has yet been produced.

Older and Bolder director Patricia Conboy said older people knew the importance of planning, which was why they wanted the strategy delivered.

“Thousands of older people have already contributed their time, energy and ideas towards this plan and any new government must make its implementation a priority,” she said.

Chairman of the organisation Tom O’Higgins said there had been “minimal” consultation on the ageing strategy and progress had been painfully slow.

They had been told something would be published in the last couple of weeks, but nothing had happened. He said they would be examining all of the parties’ manifestos and would “point out what is and what is not in them” for the benefit of older people.

Maureen Kavanagh, chief executive of Active Retirement Ireland, one of the eight groups involved in the alliance, said older people needed “a champion”.

“We are calling on the new government to put in place a minister for older people. Yes, we had one, but this time we want one with power and decision making and clout,” she said.

Older and Bolder, which also launched its advertising campaign yesterday, has produced a toolkit for older people to use when talking to election candidates.

It includes an information leaflet on the campaign, five basic questions to ask on healthcare, pensions, transport, older involvement and the strategy.